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Feel Good and Look Great During Workous

Posted by Shilpa Rajpara on

Thanks you Very Well Fit for the feature by Malia Frey.

Feel Good and Look Great During Workouts

Confident young woman with training partners lifting kettlebell in gym
Westend61 / Getty Images

Buying new fitness clothing can be just as difficult as buying a new swim suit. In fact, sometimes it can be worse. Some brands seem to cater only to women who are super thin. Of course, their designs look great on skinny, hard plastic mannequins on the showroom floor, but it's often another story when you take the items into the dressing room.

Best Workout Clothing Brands for Tops and Bottoms

Many of the big brands (Nike, Adidas, lululemon, Champion, etc) now sell workout clothes in a wide range of sizes. But there are some lesser known brands that make impressive styles as well. These brands sell capris, shorts, tanks and tops designed specifically for women with curves and muscles. 

  • Lorna Jane. If you're an American consumer, this workout clothing brand may not be familiar, but it is one of the top fitness clothing brands in Australia. That fact won't surprise you when you see their workout clothes. Lorna Jane's signature Amy tight is designed with the company's exclusive "Nothing 2 See Here" fabric so that you don't have to worry about showing too much when you're down-dogging in front of a stranger. The tights also have a higher waist band for added support. Amy comes in sizes from XXS to XL (representatives for the brand encourage women to size down when they shop for leggings). You'll also find plenty of tops, jackets, hoodies, and even maternity workout gear.
  • Brooks. This brand, known for its running shoes, also makes fitness apparel in a range of sizes to fit a variety of body types. If you like the graphic prints and bright colors you see in many trendy stores, you'll find them on workout capris by Brooks. Sizes range from XS to XXL. Sports bras come in designs for high impact, medium impact, and low impact activities and offer all levels of support. Many of the bras are sold by cup size so that you can get the fit you need. There is even a trial run guarantee. You can wear the gear and if you are not happy with it after 90 days you can still return it for a refund. 
  • Asics. Another brand well-known for their running shoes, Asics makes workout gear and post-workout wear that curvy women will love. The Seamless Stretch Tight, for example, is a great 3/4 length capri that doesn't have annoying seams that will dig into your skin during squats and lunges. Women with larger busts will love many of the tanks (like the Cool Tank) that provide more coverage in the upper body than many popular strappy styles.
  • RYU. This company is quickly becoming a favorite brand for workout wear and for daytime duds. RYU (Respect Your Universe) crafts lifestyle and performance apparel for men and women out of organic and recycled materials. Very cool. But what I like best about RYU is shopping on their website. Their modern designs are displayed on real, fit, muscular bodies. Check out theAllure Pant, for example, to see how a strong woman with curves will look in the flattering design. For women who want less coverage, the Siren Bra is stunning and supportive. Sizes for women range from XXS to a generous XL and most designs fit fairly true to size.
  • 2XU This workout clothing brand is popular among runners and triathletes, but you don't have to be a hardcore competitive athlete to wear the gear. The company's compression tights and tops make every body feel great during fitness activities. The company's bra's are especially well made. The Medium Impact Support Bra is designed to reduce bounce and keep you supported. Fitness capris come in different lengths and different rises so that you can get as much mid-section support as you prefer.
  • Lane Bryant. This brand, already a favorite among many plus-sized women, makes workout wear that looks great. You'll find slimming styles in traditional dark colors, but you'll also find plenty of designs in energetic colors as well. The wide range of sizes and extensive size guide makes shopping easy on their website or in stores.
  • Always for Me.  If you are looking for sport-specific gear designed for bigger bodies, Always for Me has fitness shorts for cyclists and other athletes. The company also makes swimwear, coverups and lingerie. You've seen their designs on The Biggest Loser and the slimming designs will look good on you too.

In addition to the brands listed above, there are a few companies that excel at making sports bras that fit women who need extra support.

  • Sportee Sports Bra. This training top made by Shapeez minimizes bounce during workouts and also has a design that minimizes back fat. And if you hate the dreaded uni-boob look, you'll love the Sportee. It is designed with individual shaped cups (and comes in cup sizes) so that you look your best in the gym or during your outdoor workout.
  • Shefit Ultimate Sports Bra If your girls need some extra support, make this your go-to brand for sports bras. The design allows you to customize the wide bust band so you get a comfy fit and the shoulder straps adjust in the front for convenience. While the bra comes in sizes ranging from XS to 6L, this level of support will be especially appreciated by women with a larger bust. 
  • Nayali. This brand (named for feminine courage) makes activewear focused on women with a fuller bust (D cup to G cup). You won't have to worry about side boob, under boob, digging straps or wearing double bras. Nayali bras come in a range of styles and colors. The brand also makes swimwear and active streetwear.
  • Oiselle. This Seattle-based company is run by woman for women. Their sports bras are designed with female fitness fanatics in mind. The Bae Bra has a sexy racerback style with plenty of support in front. And the Brilliance Bra is perfect for women who are annoyed by skinny straps that dig into their shoulders.

Best Workout Clothing Brands: Pre and Post-Workout Wear

  • Active Ego. Whether you're looking for a stylish hoodie, workout capris, or a fun poncho for a day on the beach, Active Ego has you covered. This fun gear comes in sizes ranging from 1X to 4X so you don't have to worry about fit. And not only does Active Ego cater to plus size women, their leggings have a panel that "sucks it in" so you don't have to. Buy the brand online or at Neiman Marcus.
  • Nuu-Muu. It might seem odd to think about working out in a dress, but once you see the active apparel at Nuu Muu, you'll see why it makes sense, especially for larger bodies. In fact, the company's goal is to inspire women of all sizes to "love themselves into action." Their exercise dresses can be worn alone or with tights for workouts or for comfy daily activities. Some are even designed with smartly placed pockets for keys, ID and credit cards. The dresses come in sizes Small to 3 XL to accommodate a range of body types. Dresses are even made for girls. 
  • Flexi Lexi.  If you don't feel comfortable in form-fitting capris or workout leggings, consider a stylish alternative by Flexi Lexi. The brand makes harem pants and palazzo pants that are both comfy and cool to work out in. You'll find a wide range of colors to go with every bra top or tank ...and Flexi Lexi makes those, too.

Best Workout Clothing Brands: Shoes

Your footwear can easily make or break a workout. Sore feet will derail even the best intentions in the weight room or on the cardio floor floor. Most big brands sell shoes in medium widths and standard styles. But sometimes women with bigger bodies need shoes with more cushioning, arch support and a bigger toe box. These brands offer unique designs that may work better for your feet.

Hoka One One. Hoka has become a popular brand among runners because of their comfy, fast, light shoes. Hoka shoes have a cushioned midsole, and meta rocker technology that propel your foot forward during runs and other fitness activities. Hoka also offers a Time to Fly 30-Day guarantee, so if you're nervous about trying a new design, you have the option of returning them for a refund.

Altra. Altra shoes have a unique design that may look odd if you're used to buying shoes with a narrow tapered toe box. Altra shoes have a toe box that is shaped like the top of your foot so your toes have room to move naturally. In addition, the shoes have a Zero Drop platform and cushioning to keep your feet healthy on the road. Altra is also the first shoe company to introduce an entire line of truly female-specific shoes.

Vionic. Whether you are looking for shoes for a night on the town or for shoes to take to the gym, Vionic has you covered. The company's Orthaheel technology helps promote alignment
from the ground up and you'll find it in all of their shoes—even their slippers. If you suffer from sore feet from running workouts, walking sessions, or just standing on your feet all day, check out Vionic's line-up of styles to suit every occasion.

You'll find most of these brands in stores and also online. In addition to those listed, be sure to check out workout shoes in width sizes from Brooks, Ryka, and Asics as well. If you're not sure what size to buy, head to your locally owned running or walking store and have a professional measure your foot. Taking the extra time to buy the right shoes, and the best workout gear will help keep you motivated to stay active and stay fit.

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